The film is a stark and graphic portrayal of the conditions that existed at the State Prison for the Criminally Insane at Bridgewater, Massachusetts. Titicut Follies documents the various ways the inmates are treated by the guards, social workers and psychiatrists. –Zipporah Films
Documentarian Frederick Wiseman has been noted for his ability to capture the nuances of life in American institutions such as prisons, hospitals, welfare offices, and high schools. He started out in 1963 by producing a fictional feature film, The Cool World, an examination of the lives of Harlem teenagers. In the beginning, Wiseman was a staunch social reformist, and his films were calls for change. Titicut Follies, his first documentary, is an exposé of life in a prison for the criminally insane in Bridgewater, MA. It was controversial and left Wiseman with the reputation of being a muckraker. His four subsequent documentaries were all exposés of other tax-supported institutions designed to show the ineffectiveness of the bureaucracy that not only threatens to destroy them, but also dehumanizes the people they were meant to serve. Wiseman toned down his message and began focusing more on American culture to point out the symbolism of daily activities in his film Primate (1974). In… read more
A voyage into madness guided by the perverted look of Frederick Wiseman (see the musical numbers of "The Titicut Follies", a vaudeville-like group constituted by the monstruous guards of the madhouse in question) is, despite its various qualities, still too ambiguous to produce a strong and lasting "meaning". The lack of a protagonist and the varitety of the information also draw the spectator back.
An essay on and analysis of Titicut Follies, the debut feature of Frederick Wiseman. The first in a series by Craig Keller on all-Wiseman.
Ramin Bahrani speaks clearly and assertively. He knows what he wants; even more admirably, he seems to know exactly why he wants it. He can
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